In keeping with the product naming buzz surrounding Windows 8 this week, Microsoft announced that it's changing course for the next Windows Server release. In a sign that the server OS will see the light of day by the end of the year, the software maker is settling on Windows 2012 as the operating system's official name rather than keeping the Windows Server 8 code name.
Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson announced the name change during his keynote at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS 2012) in Las Vegas as he described how System Center 2012 and Windows Server factor into the company's private cloud vision. He added that System Center 2012 will be getting updates later in the year to more fully integrate with Windows 2012.
Currently in beta release, Windows Server 2012 is being touted as a "cloud-optimized" OS by Microsoft. Jeff Woolsey, Microsoft Principal Product Manager, told those in attendance at MMS 2012, "Windows Server 2012 is about making your business more agile. It's about making your data centers more flexible. It's about providing you the ability to securely extend your data centers to the cloud on your terms."
He explained that a lot of work went into bulking up Windows 2012 for cloud duty, particularly for Hyper-V, the company's virtualization technology.
Cloud Enabling Hyper-V
Hyper-V improvements include support for 1 TB of memory per virtual machine and virtual storage support for 64 terabytes per virtual disk. And according to Woolsey, "From a cluster standpoint, we now support the largest clusters in the industry, up to 64 nodes in 4,000 virtual machines in a cluster."
Live Migration has received considerable attention as well. This time around, Windows Server supports concurrent virtual machine migrations and downtime-evading Live Storage Migrations from direct-attached storage to SANs. Additionally, the OS supports Shared-Nothing Live Migration, making it possible to migrate virtual machines between servers or clusters with nothing more than an Ethernet connection.
While introducing another of Windows 2012's new features, Woolsey asked, "In fact, wouldn't it be great if you could move a virtual machine between data centers, or to a service provider without having to re-IP your workload?"
The answer arrives in the form of Hyper-V Network Virtualization. In a Technet blog post, the Windows Networking team's General Manager, Sandeep Singhal, and Principal Program Manager, Ross Ortega, explain, "Hyper-V Network Virtualization allows customers to keep their own internal IP addresses when moving to the cloud while providing isolation from other customers' VMs — even if those VMs happen to use the exact same IP addresses."
They add that this eases management and provides peace of mind, particularly in multi-tenant environments. "The first benefit is that you can move your VMs to the cloud without modifying the VM's network configuration and without worrying about what else (or who else) is sitting in that datacenter. Your services will continue to just work," they write.
Singhal and Ortega add that Hyper-V Network Virtualization overcomes the scalability limitations imposed by employing VLANs to provide multi-tenant isolation. Additionally, it enables cross-subnet live migrations.